Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

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skinnypockets
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Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Many years ago there was an annual "Boat-a-cade" that would run from Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee. I always wanted to go but work and finances always got in the way.
I moved to North Ga. and lived there for the better part of twenty years and during that time the "Boat-a-cade" faded away. Not sure of the reason, probably due to the "restoration" of the river.

Does anyone have any first hand information about the stretch of river from Highway 60 south to Lake Okeechobee. I looked on Google Earth but can't tell much about if from the map. I'm wondering if it is still possible to run that part of the river and are there any locks or construction to deal with.

From what I see it appears that portions of the canal has been filled in and the flow has been restored to the original river bed. I'm thinking I might like to make that trip just for the hell of it. Any information would be greatly appreciated and if anyone else would like to make that run, post up and we'll see what we can put together.

Thanks, Rich :rebel: :florida: :old_glory:
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by dougeey »

I made the run from lake worth to lake Kissimmee about 1998 took two days and a lot of gas we camped at okeechobee if I remember there was three or four locks on the river and two on the st.lucie not a good airboat ride, I did it in a 19 ft. Flats boat would like to do again . If you what to put a trip togather let me know .
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Birddog247 »

I'm in let me know! I know some guys that run north to river ranch from hwy 98
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by ffjpowell »

Rich,
Don't know anything about the route BUT I would love to take the trip. You have any dates planned or still in investigation mode. Let me know if I can help out.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Plastertech2518 »

Hey Jason don't leave me out of that trip lol my motor should be ready for pick up on Wednesday so the process of my rebuild should be happening soon
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by TSnake »

Count another boat in on that run!
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Wow, I never expected this kind of response! It looks like we may be onto something here and thanks everyone for your interest.

I spent several hours on the internet this afternoon looking for more information on the river. So far what I've learned is about twenty two miles of the river has been restored and I believe I counted five locks to pass through. Google earth has some good satellite footage of the area but the imagery is over a year old. Also I read on the SWFMD website that the restoration was scheduled to be completed in 2015 but there was some delays. This was also older information so I'm still not sure about anything. It does appear that the river is passable all the way through and thousands of acres of estuaries have been restored.

what I would really like to do is take time to see the sights and enjoy the trip, not just a quick run from point A to point B. From what I read the original river was over 100 miles from Kissimmee to Okeechobee and when they completed the canal that number was reduced to about 63 miles. The trip would be a mix of the old river, canal and the restored river, probably 75 to 80 miles or more. To make such a trip worthwhile would mean camping overnight for a night or two.

Anyone interested in making this trip, post up and share your ideas and / or knowledge. If you're not able to make the trip and have some knowledge of the area, please feel free to share what you know and offer advice and ideas. This is far from being a done deal and to make it happen will take some serious planning so let's hear you thoughts.

Thanks, Rich :rebel: :florida: :old_glory:
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by dougeey »

There are two or three camp grounds on the river one is at cornwell , and at boat ramp rd. boat are good clean county parks they have gas at river ranch and at the park campground were state road 70 crass the river.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

dougeey wrote:There are two or three camp grounds on the river one is at cornwell , and at boat ramp rd. boat are good clean county parks they have gas at river ranch and at the park campground were state road 70 crass the river.
Doug

Thanks Dougeey, That's good information to know. By the way, what the heck are you doing up at 3:41 AM., don't you old people ever sleep? :lol:

Birddog247, I would be interested in talking to those guys that run that area, are they on S.A.?

Just so everyone will know what we're talking about, here's some pictures I found on SFWMD's website. http://my.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/ ... update.pdf
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by dougeey »

skinnypockets wrote:
dougeey wrote:There are two or three camp grounds on the river one is at cornwell , and at boat ramp rd. boat are good clean county parks they have gas at river ranch and at the park campground were state road 70 crass the river.
Doug

Thanks Dougeey, That's good information to know. By the way, what the heck are you doing up at 3:41 AM., don't you old people ever sleep? :
Just because we are old dose not mean we can't howl at the moon like the pups do :drunken: :drunken: :drunken: besides i am a hour behind you :thumbleft:
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by ffjpowell »

Once we get some ideas or places ironed out maybe we can have some people bring us some supplies along the way; av gas, ice water, etc... so we will lighten the loads. How many miles u plan on doing a day? Do you know the water levels, from what u looked at so far. Looking forward to the trip.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by BANANA BOAT »

After the lock on 98 south of Cornwell. It is just a canal.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by getchasumairboats »

I have run every part of the river from the just south of the pool B locke all the way to okeechobee. They blew out the structure that separated pool b and c . Ther is some pretty country all the way down . It will be a very cool trip ... Make sure to run some of the old river .
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Swamp Parrot »



Ok being new to air boating, I was told air boats should avoid deep water, would this not be some deep water? Hope I don't sound stupid still learning this stuff. sounds like a fun trip. we rented a place at River Acres airport for 38 days last year and it was right on the river. saw a few Air boats run by. I have only had my boat out 1 times since I got it. 11' deck over 350 DD.

I can only imagine how much fun a run like this would be.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by getchasumairboats »

The main river is all deep running. I have always ran it in an airboat but I would suggest you get Alittle more seat time . Imo
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Swamp Parrot »

getchasumairboats wrote:The main river is all deep running. I have always ran it in an airboat but I would suggest you get Alittle more seat time . Imo
Ok thanks for the advice. still trying to learn what to avoid and what is ok for my boat, I posted the video so others could see what I have and give me some pointers.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by dougeey »

If someone has a pontoon boat they can carry gas coolers and camping stuff for those who will be staying over night
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

When you get to thinking about it there's quite a few things that needs to be considered. I'm retired so timing is not that critical to me as it is to people who still have to work for a living so it should be planned far enough out so anyone who would like to go would have time to schedule days off. Personally, I'm planning to make the "Hero's Ride" in 2A and Camp Old Glory on May the 30th, other than that I'm pretty much available for when ever we can agree to. (If there's anyone else who would like to show their appreciation to a vet, I know they are still looking for boats and operators). As for time, I'm thinking three days and two nights or so.

Water levels need to be looked at to determine if currents could be a problem. I don't think low water would be a problem sense we would not be venturing that far from the river.

Weather could also be a factor but that's what they make raincoats for. From looking at a FWC map there's a lot of public use areas but I was not able to determine if a permit would be needed for camping or maybe we could camp at the campgrounds. Will need to get more information about that.

Dougeey, I do have a pontoon and have considered the same thing. It's 24 ft. with a 50 HP mercury engine, not the prettiest boat on the water but it's been dependable for me. The only concern with it is will it keep up with the airboats. I'll have to take it out and check the MPH's.

getchasumairboats and Banana Boat has made a good point about the river verses the canal. To me the canal would be like driving down a interstate highway. Is it possible to go back and forth from the canal to the old river where they intersect? Like I said before, I would like to take the time to enjoy the trip.


ffjpowell, If the pontoon can keep up, we should be able to carry enough supplies to make the trip without having to have someone bring it to us. That brings up another point, If we make it a one direction trip, we will need someone to bring the trucks and trailers and meet us at our destination. We'll have to work on that!


Swamp Parrot, Get you some seat time on that boat and come on out and play! As for the deep water, tie a strong 40 ft. rope on that life preserver you have on the front of that boat, that way if you sink it it will be easy to find and recover and also make some great memories. :lol:


My typing finger is getting tired so I'm going to back off and let some of Ya'll throw out some more ideas. :rebel: :florida: :old_glory:
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Birddog247 »

One thing to consider and in my opinion is very dangerous is the fact that there are a lot of switchback turns where you cannot see other boats coming in opposite directions. Extreme care needs to be taken when navigating these areas.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by digginfool »

I'm pretty sure the whole route is passable. There were two boats at the RR marina this weekend that were ocean going boats. I can't imagine they were from farther north. I figured they had to come up from Ft Myers or Stuart.
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Bodean »

count me in! something I think that would be a good idea is if someone has about an 18' or so center console that a couple of us could meet at the locks on 60 at sun up on a Saturday morning and do a test run to OKEECHOBEE we could go down there and back in the same day, take a GPS and mark some locations and camp grounds and get a first hand feel before taking the airboats, I don't have a center console but I'll ride and help if someone decides to do that prior to taking the airboats, I we'll need a close count of boats that way we can make sure if the campgrounds will accommodate all that go?
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by dougeey »

Some parts of the old river is dead ends the part at boat ramp rd. is ,as for the pontoon boat keeping up if they stay in the canal it should be no problem I will most likely bring my bay boat and go on to the ocean
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Bodean makes a good point. I'm not sure how long it would take to run the length of the river sense I'v never tried it. At this time I'm not even sure what the total miles are and the switchbacks would probably increase the travel time. I prefer to know something about what I'm getting into so the idea of making a test run to check it out makes perfect sense.

My thoughts are that it may be better to have someone drop the boat and operators off at Okeetanee and pick them up at highway 60 for a one way trip. This way there would be more time to talk to the campground operators and get phone numbers and other information. For safety reasons it may also be a good idea to run two boats.

Also, How about some thoughts on when would be a good date to make the trip?

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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by Bodean »

I know a couple that have done the trip down an back in one day I'll have to get details from them
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Re: Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, river navagation?

Post by skinnypockets »

Bodean wrote:I know a couple that have done the trip down an back in one day I'll have to get details from them
That'll be a big help, ask them what they were running, what was their average cruising speed, how many stops did they make, did they happen to check the miles traveled and how many hours did it take.

Maybe they would be interested in making the run with us also. Thanks, Rich

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